UN Sanctions Operator of North Korean Ship Smuggling Arms
The U.N. Security Council committee has imposed sanctions on Ocean Maritime Management, operator of a North Korean ship seized near the Panama Canal last year for smuggling Soviet-era arms from Cuba.
Under the sanctions, issued by the UN Council’s North Korea (DPRK) sanctions committee, the company is now subject to an international asset freeze and travel ban.
The seized ship, Chong Chon Gang, was carrying arms, missiles, including two MiG-21 jet fighters, hidden under thousands of tonnes of sugar. The ship was stopped under suspicion that it was smuggling drugs, however the following search found the illicit cargo.
Once discovered, Cuba said it was sending “obsolete” Soviet-era weapons to be repaired in North Korea.
“Ocean Maritime Management Company, Ltd (OMM), played a key role in arranging the shipment of the concealed cargo of arms and related materiel,” according to the committee’s implementation assistance notice.
“The concealment of the aforementioned items demonstrates intent to evade U.N. sanctions, and is consistent with previous attempts by the DPRK to transfer arms and related materiel through similar tactics in contravention of Security Council prohibitions,” the committee added.
Panama released the ship and the crew comprising thirty-two North Korean sailors in February.
World Maritime News Staff